The Grand Rapids Community College volleyball team made its 12th appearance in the Division II National Tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Thursday, Nov.17, and won its first match against Illinois Central College and then lost to Johnson County Community College
In its first match, the team defeated Illinois Central College 25-14, 22-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-8.
Prior to the team’s first round matchup, the Raiders felt excited and ready for the opportunity to bring a championship to GRCC.
“All of us are super excited that we get the opportunity to play at Nationals this year because we weren’t so fortunate last year,” said all-MCCAA sophomore Audrey Torres. “We can’t wait to show up and give it all we have, and hopefully come home with a National title.”
Throughout the match, GRCC and ICC went back-and-forth as it went to a fifth and final set. Although the tournament is double elimination, the stakes were high in determining who would face the No. 2 seed. In the final set, the Raiders dominated the Cougars while winning the final set 15-8. The impressive fifth set secured a spot in the second round against No. 2 Johnson County Community College.
Torres led the team in kills with 12 while also having five digs. Fellow sophomore and all-MCCA team member, Eliza Thelen recorded 10 kills and six blocks. Second team all-conference member and sophomore, Shannon Russel, made a paramount impact with 38 assists along with 10 digs.
“It was all of our first times at Nationals except two other players and we were really excited to compete against one another,” Torres said. “The fact that we won our first game makes it even better and we can hardly wait for our next game.”
The Raiders faced the No. 2 overall seed Johnson County Community College later that night in the Quarterfinals and were defeated 12-25, 12-25, 16-25. That means the Raiders are out of championship contention but can still get fifth place in the event.
GRCC faces No. 4 Iowa Central Community College in a consolation game on Friday, Nov.18 at 3:30 P.M.